Thursday 20 February 2020

Are chess clubs dying?

In the Internet age, the conventional wisdom is that chess clubs struggle for members. The attraction of playing from home, and choosing when you play, looks like a better option, at least on the surface. This article from Port Macquarie certainly takes that tack when discussing the decline in numbers at the local chess clubs.
While this may be the case in that area, numbers in the chess clubs in Canberra seem to be going in the other direction. For a number of years the situation was that any two local clubs would be doing well, while the others would struggle. But over the last year, all the clubs in Canberra (Tuggeranong, Canberra, and Gungahlin) have attracted larger numbers of players. Attendances at Street Chess are also increasing (even with the entry fee increase) and other activities like the ANU Chess Society are attracting big numbers.
One of the reasons (at least in Canberra) is that people seem keen to move from social and online chess, to face to face chess. Rather than internet chess keeping people away from clubs, it is instead generating a new pool of players. The trick is to tap into this pool, using a good social media strategy. A good club website is a start, especially one that turns up via obvious search terms. (eg If you type "canberra chess" into google, the Canberra Chess Club page is the first link). Running a good email list (with weekly results) also helps, as it encourages members to keep playing. And if you want to go all out, Facebook and Twitter are also good ways of notifying potential new members of upcoming events.

1 comment:

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